Killing the Laguna Seca MotoGP Slowly?

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meAfter a morning of franticly trying to source a hotel room, floor space or tree to sleep under for MotoGP, I can’t help but wonder if the greed of local hoteliers is going to kill the Laguna Seca MotoGP slowly.  At the low end I’m looking at about a grand Canadian for a dodgy two-star motel and that’s lot of money for three nights.  A few quick survey calls to the Bay Area sees the most die-hard fans I know doing the two-hour commute ride from San Francisco, and these are not folks who are noted for scrimping and saving.  Techies to a one, they know how to make and spend the dosh – call them medium high-end rollers.

So when the biggest in-state fans are starting to opt out of supporting the Monterey Motel Money-grab that leaves the out of town fans.  On the plus side this frugality on the part of semi-locals opens up more rooms this year.  Here’s the question though, how often do you need the to experience of the crowd, the heat and watching some really fast guys whip around a track in circles?  Once?  Twice?

The high cost of staying in the Monterey area may peak the Laguna Seca MotoGP’s attendance before its time, and well before a broad supporting fan base for live racing can be established in North America, by putting the stay in the area out of the reach of the average sport rider.  The cost of staying in the area may turn attendance into a “once in a lifetime” vacation rather than a “lets go every year” event.  Suddenly the short term gain made by local hotels pales against the lost long-term revenue.

Why would a rider turn away from the event?  For myself the cost of going to MotoGP will be the equivalent of a moderately frugal two and a half week rip through California’s amazing back roads, visiting friends, wineries and some pretty good restaurants along the way.  Suddenly four days of watching someone else ride begins to lose appeal.

It’s sad because I do want to see MotoGP get a foothold here in the Americas, and really the solution is more races.  With a few more MotoGP dates on this side of the pond, more fans get to be local/semi-local and the money grab becomes capped by competition between hosting venues.  Why go to California if Utah is closer and cheaper?  One can only hope the MotoGP in North America reaches this stage of maturation and weathers the crippling greed that surrounds it now.

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